Statement of the National Council on the police brutality against the peaceful rally and tortures on 19 October 2019.

Taking into consideration the fact that the freedom of assembly provided by Article 49 of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Article 11 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and Article 21 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights has been banned by Azerbaijani authorities since 19 January 2019 and the rejection of eight official appeals to conduct a rally of the National Council, there was an attempt to conduct a peaceful mass rally on 19 October 2019 at the 28 May metro station in Baku. However, this important right secured by the Azerbaijani legislation and international treaties of which Azerbaijan is a member has not been given to Azerbaijani citizens yet again and on 19 October police authorities, particularly the Rapid Response Police, abusing their power, used excessive force and violence against peaceful citizens participating at the rally, citizens were subjected to torture and inhumane treatment, around 500 peaceful demonstrators have been detained and taken to various police stations.

One of the event's chief organizers, head of the Azerbaijani Popular Front Party Ali Karimli, faced a particular cruelty. Even though the leader of the country's opposition made no resistance while in custody and said he would comply with police orders, he was demonstratively treated with demeanor and violence, as if he was a terrorist at the crime scene. While under arrest in a bus, he was beaten with extreme brutality by six members of the Rapid Response Police of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, subjected to humiliating and inhuman treatment, physical and moral tortures. It is interesting that all violent actions against him have been filmed. The opposition's leader was coerced under torture to abandon the political activity. Just this fact of beating and humiliation of the opposition leader by police employees, the filming of this inhumane act, undoubtedly by the order of the superiors for demonstration, much to their pleasure and joy, is a clear indication of the depth of moral, ideological and psychological crisis of Azerbaijani political authorities and what grave offenses they are involved in.

As Ali Karimli was beaten, particularly strangulated, there was a serious threat to his life; the internal organs, rib were seriously damaged, the head was broken and due to high risk of death his head received six sutures at the Internal Troops Hospital of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, there are clear signs of strangulation on the neck and injuries to the face and head.

Hundreds of participants of the peaceful rally on 19 October received various injuries. Women, elder persons faced police brutality, they were beaten and pinned to the ground.

Among those arrested at the peaceful rally were members of the Coordination Center of the National Council Tofig Yagublu, Eldaniz Guliyev and Vahid Maharramli. Tofig Yagublu received 30 days of administrative detention, there are unconfirmed reports of his torture. On the rally's day the 28 May, Jafar Jabbarli and Khatai metro stations in Baku suspended their operation, all entrances and exits of Baku, as well as the city center were taken under strict police control, the roads were closed. During the rally all internet access throughout entire Baku was limited, while in the city center there was no internet in general, the mobile and landline phones did not function, the center of Baku completely lost the connection with the world. While the direct perpetrators of this outrage and lawlessness were phone operators like AZERCELL, BAKCELL and NarMobile, internet providers, Baku Metro, etc, the mastermind is, of course, the corrupt, larcenous and hostile to human rights government of Ilham Aliyev.

The violence and excessive force used against thousands of Azerbaijani citizens at the rally on 19 October, keeping hundreds of peaceful protesters for hours at police stations without any legal basis hundreds, physically injuring some of them, the physical and moral tortures of the opposition leader, humiliating and inhuman treatment is a grave offense committed against the people of Azerbaijan by the despotic Azerbaijani regime led by Ilham Aliyev. Aliyev's tyranny will surely be held accountable before the law and court.

As the National Council, we call upon international organizations and the entire democratic world to impose wide sanctions against the Ilham Aliyev's regime which commits atrocities against its own people, heavily tortures its political opponents and enjoys filming such tortures, demands under police tortures from an opponent to abandon political activity, while losing in an open and fair political competition, and rules the country by the law of the jungle. The Azerbaijani kleptocratic government has long been about to fall under the scope of the Magnitsky law, and we look forward to taking concrete steps in this regard as soon as possible. We urge the Azerbaijani authorities, at least, to avoid further disgrace on the global scale, to hold the Interior Ministry's Rapid Response Police and the Minister of Internal Affairs Vilayat Eyvazov personally responsible for these crimes, and to remove all obstacles to freedom of assembly.

Our main expectation as the National Council lies within the people of Azerbaijan. We call upon our beloved people to peaceful, civil and constitutional struggle to show this corrupt, larcenous, lawless, powerful and criminal authority its place in history. In spite of all our the deprivations, all the violence and even torture, we as the National Council, being at the forefront of this struggle, are committed to delivering our people the freedom, democratic, free, prosperous and just society. In this honorable struggle the people of Azerbaijan deserve a victory and they will achieve it!-0--

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